Author Visits


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Write the Story Only You Can Tell

In this multimedia workshop, students learn that the best stories come from the treasure you hold inside. I share how every-day moments, enduring memories and history inspired my books for kids. Then, I take kids on a tour of my writing process from story idea to publication. I give them a peek at my drafts, early art from illustrators and offers tips on making stories shine. The session includes interactive readings, a song or dance and Q&A.

Write the Story Only You Can Tell

In each of us, there are stories waiting to be told. In this session, kids hear about my journey to publication and how my life informs the stories I create. They receive tips on mining their lives for ideas, using their senses to fill stories with meaningful detail and showing instead of telling. Readings and Q&A are part of this inspiring program.

Drumbeat for Change

In this interactive presentation, students hear the history behind several of my picture books, learn that kids throughout history have been agents of change and that the power to create change lives in them too. During the program, students will participate in readings and a call and response in the poem, Drumbeat for Change, included in the acclaimed anthology, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices.

Dream and Do

In this multimedia program, students learn how kids passed along Lift Every Voice and Sing, the song that became known as the Black National Anthem, and the childhood paths that led architect Philip Freelon and ballerina Misty Copeland to realizing their dreams. They will gain insight into the process of turning an idea into a finished book and receive encouragement to dream big and believe they can make their aspirations come true.

Mine Your Life For Story Gold – Writing Residency

In this five-day residency, I teach students that moments and memories offer inspiration for personal narratives. Through writing and discussion, students learn how to infuse their work with heart, meaning, cohesion and sensory detail. Through lessons on revision, they gain skills in strengthening and polishing their pieces and giving constructive feedback to peers. The last day features readings and a celebration of the sto
ry or poem each has written.

Zoom & Skype

I offer Zoom & Skype visits. Please contact me at for information and fees.

Custom Workshops for Kids

I can customize presentations or workshops for your class, library, community group, book club or church. I enjoy exploring history, celebrating family relationships and giving kids and adults tips on writing stories from the heart.

2020-2021 Fees

Please contact me at for information on scheduling and fees. Virtual presentations are available.

Book Orders

If you'd like signed copies of my books, you can order them through Quail Ridge Books and Music - 919-828-1588. Let them know how many copies you want and how you'd like them personalized.

If you would like to order directly from the publisher for Sing a Song, Ellen's Broom, Tea Cakes for Tosh, Hope's Gift or the Jada Jones chapter book series, call Penguin’s Author Appearance Order Processing Department at 866-206-5865. Schools and libraries are eligible for a 40% discount and the books are returnable.

To order directly from the publisher for One Million Men and Me and NEATE: Eddie's Ordeal, call  or email Just Us Books Director of Sales, Willie Hudson at 973-672-7701 or

You can also purchase copies of my books through online booksellers such as,, and



At her first Georgia signing, Kelly autographs NEATE posters and copies of "Eddie's Ordeal" at South DeKalb Mall's Learning Tree Book Store.